herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Victims of domestic abuse are being failed by system, says expert

A study revealed that 50pc of men involved in domestic violence had never appeared before a court over their actions.
A study revealed that 50pc of men involved in domestic violence had never appeared before a court over their actions.

Ireland is failing the victims of domestic violence with a system that is under-resourced, reactive and totally ignores the potential of early intervention.

The warning came as a major conference will hear that the system, while failing to adequately protect vulnerable women and children, has also missed the opportunity to take steps to break the cycle of violence.

Irish agencies have been struggling to cope with an escalating spiral of domestic violence since 2008, which has resulted in multiple tragedies.

One-in-five Irish women are now believed to have suffered domestic abuse.

A study revealed that 50pc of men involved in domestic violence had never appeared before a court over their actions.

Safe Ireland revealed that a domestic violence call is received by Irish helplines on average every 12 minutes.

In 2014, a staggering total of 46,100 calls were received involving domestic violence. The previous year, a total of 11,500 women and children received support from domestic violence services, while emergency refuges had to cope with 1,769 women and 2,699 children.

But a staggering total of 6,187 women sought support involving non-accommodation resources such as counselling, medical aid, advocacy and court accompaniment.

University College Cork's School of Law are staging the international conference, which opens today, with Dr Louise Crowley warning that Ireland has to change a system which is buckling under the pressure - warning the entire system has to be changed to place the focus on tackling the behaviour of the perpetrator.

Priority

Dr Crowley said existing State responses to domestic violence and abuse are "typically reactive and under-resourced".

"While priority is rightly given to providing for and protecting vulnerable women and children, we must now seek to break the cycle of gender-based violence and, where at all possible, tackle the root of the abuse," she argued.

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